Shakespeare's Words in Edmund Ironside - I

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams




The following sections show (a) a word found in Shakespeare's canonical plays and poems, together with its dictionary meaning and its associations in such contexts, and (b) the same information in relation to Edmund Ironside. The demonstrable existence of exact parallels in both those sources, even in only one word, would bid fair and go far to demonstrate identity, on the ground that only one mind in the whole world could ever have worked thus. But this list contains 127 such words or expressions. The favoured academic explanation of 'plagiarism' or 'imitation' is also ruled out by these facts; no plagiarist or imitator would or could have ever proceeded thus. It follows that Ironside is the earlier source, and that it is a play by Shakespeare.


ABJECTLY (1 = in an abject, mean or degrading manner) + thoughts + soliloquy + wit + villainy + base(ly) + poor

'Let him that thinks of me so abjectly' understand, says Aaron, in a soliloquy, that he has 'wit' and will thereby effect 'villainy' (Titus II.iii.1, 4, 7). In Ironside (324) Edricus says, in a soliloquy that 'thoughts' of his previous poverty 'abase my state most abjectly'; he later insists, aside (1734-5), on his 'wit' and 'villainy'. Shakespeare associates 'abject' with baseness and poverty, as in 'abject, base and poor' (1H6 V.v.49), 'servile, abject drudges...base' (2H6 IV.i.105-6) and 'base and abject...rags...beggary' (2H4 IV.i.33-5); cf. also Edricus, again in soliloquy (280, 284) - 'mean...basely born...abject thought'. 


ACTION(s) (11 = battle) + victory in war + named commander

'Don Pedro...action...victory...achiever' (Ado I.i.6; cf. Ironside (71-3), '[Canute's] success...actions...battle'.


be ADVIS'D (6 = counselled) + talk + tongue

This expression (1H4 IV.iii.5) means 'take care', 'watch out'; it occurs where a character's own words risk dire peril: cf. ' advis'd...speak' (ibid. 3-7); 'thou toldst advis'd!' (Ven 614-5);' advis'd' (MV II.i.42); ' advis'd (H8 I.i.139). Cf. in particular ' advis'd...advis'd...spoke...spoke' (R3 II.i.102-3, 108-9). In Ironside (720) Canute tells his two hostages, who have both spoken out against his tyranny, 'temper well your tongues, and be advis'd'. 


AFOOT (3 = in active operation) + plot + civil war

'Mischief, thou art afoot' (JC III.ii.260); 'afoot...plot' (1H4 I.iii.278-9). Both are about civil war. Cf. also 'plot...afoot' (MM IV.v.2-3). Ironside (1577) has 'thy plotform [=plot] is afoot/ and one [contender for the crown] must die...', which will decide the outcome of the civil war.


AGGRAVATE (6b = of offences: to make more heinous)  + misdemeanour

'sin...aggravate' (Edward III 793); cf. 'aggravate my fault (Ironside 1191-2).


ALL HAIL! Judas + Christ + kiss + shout out + pun on 'hail'

'Judas kiss'd his master/and cried all hail...harm' (3H6 V.vii.34); 'cry all hail to me/so Judas did to Christ' (R2IV.i.169-70); cf. Ironside (1640-44), 'hale...all hail [this outcry occurs thrice] ...Judas...kiss'. See also STUMBLE.


AMPLIFY + followers + a leader's fame  

A leader has his 'fame...amplified' (Cor V.ii.16) by his supporter Menenius; in Ironside (946) Canute's Danes strive 'to amplify [his] fame'.


APPEASE + slaughter + human sacrifice + war

'appeased with slaughter' (Cym V.v.72); cf. also Titus I.i.123, 125-6 'die...t'appease' the shades of those 'slain' in battle. In Ironside (1872-3) a soldier complains to the warring kings that 'we daily to appease your mortal wars/ offer our slaughtered bodies'. See also SLAUGHTERED.


ART (III = skilled, crafty or artificial conduct) + craft/deceit

'Slay me not by art' (Son 139.4); 'his passion, but an art of craft' (LC 295); cf. Ironside (1317-8), 'deceit...I need no art, art cannot help me now'. 


BARREN (8 = mentally unproductive) + invention + wit

The usage appears in MND III.ii.13 and Ham III.ii.41. It also associates with 'wit', whether indirectly (TN I.iii.79: 'no...brain', 85) or directly ('Barren my wit?', Err II.i.91). Cf. Ironside 1165-6: 'wit...barren'.


BASE-BORN (1 = of humble origin) + the elevation of such people + the 

downfall of true nobility

The vaunted affluence of a 'base-born' Duchess is contrasted by the Queen with 'our poverty' (2H6 I.iii.79,81)'; 'base-born Cades' (2H6 IV.viii.47) are contrasted with the King. In 3H6 II.ii.143 the Queen herself is reminded of her lowly origins ('base-born heart') and then blamed for the King's downfall. Thus what goes up should have stayed down, and conversely. In Ironside (235, 238-9), the same contrasts cluster around the same word: 'each base-born groom promoted up' as distinct from 'noble ... gentlemen'. 


BASILISK (= fabulous beast) + sight            

'Make me not sighted like the basilisk' (WT I.ii.388), 'kill the...gazer with thy sight' (2H6 III.ii.52); cf. Ironside1651-2, 'his venomer than is the basilisk's'.


BATTER down (2 = operate against with a battering ram) + wall + siege of Troy

'Batters down the wall' (Tro I.iii.206) says Ulysses at the siege of Troy. 'Batter down the walls' (Ironside 910), says Canute at the siege of New Troy [=London] (864).


BIG-BONED (B1 big- in combinations) + men + Cyclops + size

We are 'no big-boned men framed of the Cyclops' size' (Titus IV.iii.47) But 'big-boned' men actually appear inIronside (1047), where they are also 'of your Cyclops' size' (660).


BLUE COATS (1 = serving men ) + slaves + unpolish'd

In 1H6 I.iii.47 and Shr IV.i.91, stage directions confirm that blue coats are uniformed serving-men. In the latter context they are also 'unpolish'd' (125) and 'slaves' (166). Ironside (1242-3) has 'bluecoats' and 'bluecoated slaves', one of whom is called a serving man (1267) and asked whether he has 'forgotten all good manners' (1265). See also ROGUES.


BOOK of life (4c book of) + blot

From the 'book of life' may 'my name be blotted' (R2 I.iii.202). Ironside (1025) has a 'book of life' and also (748-9) a 'book of living fame' with a 'blot' in it.


BOUNTIFUL(LY) + lord + money

The epithet associates with 'lord' (Tim III.i.11, 39) and 'money' (ibid. 42); the adverb with 'lordship' (ibid. ii.52).Ironside (387-8) has 'My lord, my lord, you are too bountiful', i.e. in the matter of 'expense'.


BRAVE (3a = general epithet of praise) + parents + man

' man' (AYLI III.iv.36, 40); in Ironside (463,467-8) Stitch's parents say [their] son is 'a man'...a 'brave man'.


BREATH (7a = power of breathing) + fighting + blasts of cold wind            

The OED citations come from Err IV.i.57, and Ham V.ii.271, in the duelling scene. In Ironside (1984) the winded duellist Canute lacks 'the use of breath to prosecute the fight'. There is a further rare sense of 'cold wind', as in 'although thy breath be rude', AYLI II.vii.179; cf. the 'boist'rous northern breath' in Ironside (1347).


BRIDLE + will + mild and tractable

Err II.i.13-14 has 'the bridle of your 'will...ass....bridled so'. Titus I.i.470 has 'mild and tractable', with the same idea of a harnessed animal. In Ironside (152-3), Canute is advised to deal with the recalcitrant English thus: 'bridle but their wills/and you shall find them mild and tractable'.


BRINISH (1 = pertaining to the sea) + sea + drowning + depths + tears            Titus (III.i.94, 97, 100) has 'sea...brinish bowels swallow...weeping', soon followed by 'tears' twice (106, 111); cf. Ironside (1102-3) 'drowned...brinish tears...bottom of the sea'.


BUD (3b = young man) 

Young Arthur is a 'bud' in KJ III.iv.82. Ironside too (1151, 1152, 1154) equates young men with buds.


BURY (2b = consign to oblivion) + unkindness

3H6 IV.i.55 has 'you bury brotherhood'; JC IV.iii.159 has 'bury all unkindness'. AWEW V.iii.23-4 is specific: 'deeper than oblivion we do bury... the offence'. Ironside has both 'buried in oblivion' (604) and ''bury unkindness in oblivion' (1725).


CHEER UP (10a trans. = to raise the spirits) + commander + soldiers in retreat

'Go, cheer up', their commander Talbot is advised (1H6 I.v.16) by Joan of Arc, who has just entered 'driving Englishmen before her'. In Ironside (991) the English ''; but then their commander Edmund re-enters, 'cheering them up'.


CHOLERIC (4a = in a passion) + beating

Dromio is concerned lest Antipholus should become 'choleric', and beat him (ErrII.ii.61); in Ironside (1260) Stitch is 'choleric' and asks to be held to prevent his beating Roger.


CLEAR UP (27a = to make clear what has become overcast)+ consolation of a monarch defeated in battle + cheer + CLOUDY (qv) + countenance + chance + change.

'Clear up, fair queen, that cloudy countenance' (Titus I.i.263); thus Tamora, Queen of the Goths, is consoled for the 'change of cheer' wrought by the 'chance of war', namely her defeat in battle. Just so Canute, King of the Danes, at his own defeat, in Ironside (1100) is abjured to 'clear ye up' That monarch too, though he is 'the sun' (1093) also had a 'cloudy look' (1097); so had Fortune, the chance of war personified, who would soon 'change the countenance of her cloudy brow' (1056).


DUMB + kiss + self-expression

In Shakespeare, even the dumb can speak, early and late, from the adjuration 'In dumb significants proclaim your thoughts' (1H6 II.iv.26) to the 'excellent dumb discourse' of Tmp III.i.39. This unusual usage is rarely paralleled save in Ironside, which has (439) 'the chief dumb utterer of the heart's intent', i.e. a kiss; cf. 'kiss...dumbly' (R2 V.i.95).


EMPLOY in  (3 beta = use the services of [a person] in some special capacity) + I + you + serious business + presently

'I must employ you in some business' (MND I.i.124); cf. also 'serious business' (LLL II.i.31, Oth I.iii.267) followed by 'presently', (AWEW II.iv.40, 52). Ironside (1156) has 'I presently shall employ you in some serious business'.


ENCHANT (3 = enrapture) + melodious + words spoken or sung + ear + varied

'Bid me discourse, I will enchant thine ear' (Ven 145); 'speak and enchant him with thy words' (1H6 III.iii.40), 'melodious...sung/sweet varied notes enchanting every ear' (Titus III.i.85-6). Ironside (1175) has 'melodious' followed (1189) by 'varied terms [i.e. words sung by Orpheus] enchanting Cerberus'.


ENCOUNTER (6 = to go to meet) + confronting death

'If I must die/I will encounter darkness' (MM III.i.83); cf. Ironside (1702), 'stepped forth intending to encounter them', i.e. the enemy in battle.


ENCOURAGE + speech/words + named heroic general + his soldiers in battle

Nestor was seen 'encouraging the Greeks to fight...In speech' (Luc 1402, 1405). Just so in Ironside (999), which shows Edmund 'with words encouraging his soldiers'.


ESPOUSE (3 = unite in marriage) + DEPART (qv) + new-married wife

'At my marry Princess Margaret...I…was espoused' (2H6 I.i.2,4,9); cf. also 'from forth this place/I lead espoused my bride along with me' (Titus I.i.328). Ironside (1288-9) has 'the late espoused man' wife...depart'.


EXPECT (4a = anticipate the coming of) + dinner

'I will expect you', says Cassius to Casca, having just invited him to dinner (JC I.ii.293). In Ironside (217) 'the Earl/expects us at Southampton', i.e. for dinner, as we later learn (393).


FEELING (5 = tenderness for the sufferings of others) + hast thou + passion

'Hast thou a feeling of their afflictions?' (Tmp V.i.21), with 'passion' two lines later. Ironside (1467) has the inquiry 'Hast thou a feeling of my passion?', i.e. her afflictions.


FIFE + nasty noise

It makes a 'vile squealing' (MV II.v.30) or 'ear-piercing' (Oth III.iii.352) sound; cf. Ironside (1036), 'shrieking fifes'.


FLATTERY (2 = gratifying deception, delusion) + Fortune

'Sweet flattery!' (Son 42.14); cf. also 'soft and tender flattery' (Per IV.iv.44), followed (47) by 'Lady Fortune'. InIronside (1464), 'Fortune's flattery' is the delusion of happiness. 


FLEXIBLE + women

In general, 'Women are soft, mild, pitiful and flexible' (3H6 I.iv.141); Egina is duly warned against being 'too flexible' with Canute (Ironside 407).


FOAMING (1 = that which foams) + shoreline

The adjective's first citation about the sea is 'the foaming shore' (Oth II.i.11); cf. Ironside (1521), 'the foaming haven'.


FORGET oneself (5 = lose remembrance of one's own station or character) +  an excuse for inattention

R2 III.ii.83, 'I had forgot myself'; cf. Ironside (1387) 'you do forget yourself'. In each context, the next line is extenuatory: King Richard 'sleepeth' and Alfric's age 'makes ye dote'.


FORWARDNESS + soldiers in battle

'...fight it out.. why doubt'st thou of my forwardness?/An army...' (1H6 I.i.100); 'your forwardness./ Here pitch our battles. (3H6 V.iv.65). Cf. Ironside (1894), 'your soldiers' forwardness'. Cf. also 'forward to the fight' (R2I.iii.109 and Ironside 1697).


FOULLY + scandalised + mouth

'We in the world's wide mouth/live scandalised and foully spoken of' (1H4 I.iii.154-5). Cf. Ironside (65), 'foully scandalised', together with 'mouth of fame' (1024) and 'opinion's mouth' (1916).


FRAUD + force of arms + Hannibal

'The fraud of England, not the force of France…' (1H6 IV.iv.36). In Edward III (2137) a diversion from the serious business of battle is stigmatised as 'a silly fraud'. Ironside (1557) contains the same contrasts: Sweyn won England 'by treason, not by force of valiant arms' (1824) and 'fraud won Tarentum' (1557). Ironside also names the fraudster: Hannibal, with whom Joan of Arc is compared 1 Henry VI (I.v.21); she is a witch who 'drives back our troops... by fear, not force, like Hannibal'.


FRESHLY + recollection + war + dear-bought//perilous + horse-breaking

'Freshly' links with recollection of past dangers in war or rebellion: such parlous times are 'freshly remembered' (H5 IV.iii.55) and 'freshly pitied in our memories' (H8 V.iii.30-31). Compare the Ironside (192-3) reference to civil war: 'the former perils we have passed/ whose dear-bought times are freshly yet in mind'. That hyphenated epithet recurs in 2 Henry VI. I.i.252, 'England's dear-bought queen', meaning that she was the cause of civil war.H8 loc. cit. compares rebels to unbroken horses; so does Ironside (150-3).


GOLIAS (1 = a giant) + English soldiers confronting their enemies

English soldiers are 'Samsons and Goliases' (1H6 I.ii.33). The Shakespearean form 'Golias', found in Chaucer and mediaeval Latin, also appears in Ironside (1953), where the English Edmund claims to be 'Golias' in comparison with his enemy, the 'little king' Canute.


GRAPPLE with (8 = fight hand to hand) + for the crown

York vows to 'grapple with the house of Lancaster' (2H6 I.i.257-8), i.e. in battle, to 'make [Henry the sixth] yield the crown'. In Ironside (950) Canute learns that his soldiers are ready to 'grapple with their enemies' to help him 'get the crown' (954).


GUERDON + soldiers + pay + gorgeous + clothes + bounteously

'My Lord Protector...will see you well guerdon'd for these good deserts' (2H6 I.iv.46) says York to the guard, who have arrested traitors. But that, after all, was their sworn duty, even without extra payment. Shakespeare's rulers are however disposed to demonstrate their generosity. Thus King Edmund cries 'I'll guerdon every soldier bounteously/that lifts a weapon to defend our right' (Ironside 1032) although that too was no more than their duty. He has already espoused prompt remuneration for soldiers; no one must 'keep back their pay' (347), which is also a preoccupation in the canon (2H6 III.i.62, III.i.105f, etc.). One motive for doing so, Edmund says, is 'gorgeous tire', i.e. buying expensive clothes. In the canon, that rare epithet is twice applied to clothes ('gorgeous garment', 2H4 V.ii.44, and 'gorgeous wear'st', (Lr II.iv.269). The unique bounteously (TN I.ii.52) also refers to generous payment.


GUILTY (6 = laden with guilt - of the conscience, mind, etc.) + soul + discovery

'Suspicion [i.e. the fear of discovery] always haunts the guilty mind' (2H6; R2 has 'the clogging burden of a guilty soul'. In Ironside (1194), the villain Edricus speaks of 'my guilty soul'; he too fears discovery.


HAMMER (4 = of an idea, to present itself persistently to the mind) + head/brain + treachery

'Blood and revenge are hammering in my head' (Titus II.iii.39); cf. also 'hammering treachery' (2H6 I.ii.47).Ironside (265-6) has 'this very plot [=treachery] hath long been hammering in my...brain'.


HANG (4 = let droop, bend downward) + droop + news + enemy + heads + frost

'These tidings [the enemy's approach] nip me, and I hang the head/as flowers with frost' (Titus IV.iv.70). InIronside (735f) 'this unwelcome news [of a lost battle]/nips like a...frost.../and makes my...soldiers hang their heads'. Cf. also 'Why droops my lord like...corn,/hanging the head...? (2H6 I.ii.i-2)'; Ironside (1099) has 'drooping our heads as grass...'. See also NIP.


HARK ye (2c imperative + ye) + villainy

'Why, hark ye, hark ye' (Titus II.i.99); so says the villain Aaron to his accomplices, and again just after he has killed the Nurse (ibid. IV.ii.162). So says Vernon also, just before he strikes Basset, who calls him 'Villain' (1H6III.iv.37-8); so says Warwick, while consigning Joan of Arc to a cruel death (ibid. V.iv.55). The phrase is linked with villainy, in those examples; and with complicity in mischief, when spoken by Poins (1H4 II.iv.89) or Juliet's nurse (Rom II.iv.194). In Ironside (553) the villain Edricus, in the process of inciting his henchman to cudgel and whip his own parents, slips in a 'hark ye'.


HEALTH (6 = a toast drunk in a person's honour) + wine + whirlwind wooing and wedding

'He calls for wine: A health! quoth he' (Shr III.ii.170); cf. also (loc. cit. 196) 'drink a health to me' and (ibid. V.ii.51) 'a health'. Ironside (416) has 'fill me a cup of wine'. There too a bride is to be wished health (432) after a whirlwind wooing and wedding; as Gremio says (Shr II.i.325) 'was ever match clapp'd up so suddenly?' Meanwhile Canute propses ironic toasts (416, 420): 'Here's to the health of Ironside...Wilt pledge me to the health of Ironside? (416, 420). Cf. also Edward III (2315-6) 'command/a health of king's blood and I'll drink to thee'.


HELLISH = like a fiend from hell + the villain of the piece

'hellish villain' [Iago] (Oth V.ii.368); cf. also 'hellish dog' [the villain Aaron] (Titus IV.ii.77). In Ironside (1617) 'hellish incarnate devil' describes the villain Edricus.


HELPLESS (3 = unavailing) + weeping + the uselessness of a woman's tears

'The helpless balm of my poor eyes' (R3 I.ii.13) is among Anne's lanentations; cf. also Lucrece's words 'weeping...upon my cheeks what helpless shame I feel' (Luc 754,756). In Ironside, after 'weep...cry...' (1465,1467) Emma insists 'I will weep' which prompts the comment 'Madam, your helpless tears...' (1472)


HITHERWARD(S) + messenger + report + surprise attack + massive trained army + named commanders + high-resolved

'Messenger...the Duke of York is newly come from Ireland/ and with a puissant and a mighty marching hitherward in proud array' (2H6 IV.ix.24-6, 28); 'First Messenger. [The Earl of Oxford is] by this at Dunsmore, marching hitherward...Second Messenger. [The Marquis of Montague] is by this at Daintry, with a puissant troop' (3H6 V.i.3,6);

'The Dolphin is preparing hitherward' (Jn V.vii.59); 'The Earl of Westmoreland, seven thousand strong/is marching hitherwards; with him Prince John...The King himself in person is set forth/or hitherwards intended speedily/with strong and mighty preparation' (1H4 IV.i.88-9,91-3);

'Messenger...News, madam./The British powers are marching hitherward.' (Lr IV.iv.20-1); 'Some parcels of their power are forth already/and only hitherward' (Cor I.ii.32-3); 'We have descried...a portly sail of ships make hitherward' (Per I.iv.61); 'a power/of high-resolvéd men…they hither march amain, under conduct of Lucius..' (Titus IV.iv.63-66). Cf. 'Enter a Scot in haste...Messenger…marching hitherward/we might descry a mighty host of men' (Edward III 226-9); 'Mariner...I have descried...The proud armada of King Edward's ships...They plough the ocean hitherward amain' (ibid. 1108-9, 1111, 1125).

And finally: 'Messenger...Edmund your foe is coming hitherward/with a choice company of arméd men/intending to surprise you suddenly (Ironside 916-8); to which Canute casually replies 'He is welcome', as Hotspur greets the similar news cited above from 1H4 with 'He shall be welcome too'. Other Ironside analogues are equally clear, thus: '[Edmund] is coming with a mighty power' (1748), as in 2H6 loc. cit. and 'Edmund... is coming with a mighty host' (1764-5) as in Edward III loc. cit. Further, the unique rarity  'high-resolvéd' describes the mettle of a foreign invader in Titus loc. cit., just as in Ironside (1945). See also NIP.


IMMINENT + defend + danger + friend

'You have defended me from imminent death' (1H6 V.iii.19); 'dangers...imminent...friend' (Tro IV.iv.69). Cf.Ironside (1444-5) 'friends...danger imminent...friends...friendly...defend'. 


INSINUATING (2 = ingratiating) + base(ly) + flattery + cog + cozen + slave + villain(y) + abuse(d)

1H6 II.iv.35, has 'base insinuating flattery'; cf. 'basely insinuate' (Titus IV.ii.38). Ironside 'flattering' (163), 'base...insinuating' (165). There, this mixture of rare and common vocabulary describes the villain Edricus. It also describes his successor Iago; in Emilia's words (Oth IV.ii.132-4, 141-2) a 'villain...insinuating ...cogging cozening slave', a 'villainous...base' person who has 'abused the Moor', his master. In Ironside, Edricus is also disposed to 'cozen, cog and flatter' (290); in the same two passages he is called 'base...slave (165, 167) who 'doth abuse' his master (164) and is not only 'basely born' (280), but steeped in 'villainy' (306, 320).


JOAN (1 = a generic name for a female rustic) + lady + knight

'some men must love my lady, and some Joan' (LLL III.i.205); 'now I can make any Joan a lady', says the newly-knighted Bastard (Jn I.i.184). Ironside (1539-40) has '[as a] knight [I can] make Joan my wife a lady'.


LEADING + army + suing + instant royal acquiescence

York says: 'I beg the leading of the vaward [=vanguard] ' (H5 IV.iii.131); King Henry rejoins: 'Iake it'. In Ironside(1402, 1404), that monarch says that Edricus shall have 'if he craves...the leading of our army', and again 'the leading of our army'.


LIEGEMEN + swear + monarch

The word occurs only twice in the singular and twice in the plural; the former usage (1H4 II.iv.337-8) occurs with 'swear' and the latter with 'crown'.  Cf. Edward III (68) 'sworn true liegeman to our king'. Ironside (890-1) has 'sworn to be King Edmund's liegemen'.


LOPPED (1b = cut off limbs etc) + ornaments

'Alarbus' limbs are lopp'd' (Titus I.i.143); 'lopp'd... those ornaments [= hands, a sense not recorded in the OED]' (ibid. II.iv.17-18). Ironside has (599) 'lopped...of those...ornaments [hands]'.


run MAD (= mad 1b) + Hecuba + Troy + sorrow

'Hecuba of Troy ran mad for sorrow' (Titus IV.i.20); thus young Lucius explains why his grief-stricken aunt Lavinia has been running about. Elsewhere, 'madded Hecuba' (Cym IV.ii.313) was seen to 'run barefoot up and down' (Ham II.ii.505). In Ironside (1478, 1480), the grief-stricken Emma weeps, unlike 'Hecuba...of Troy [who] ran mad for sorrow cause she could not weep'.


MADCAP (B = wildly impulsive) + ruffian + court + hotspur

'Madcap' qualifies 'ruffian' (Shr II.i.288); yet it is also applied to a courtly lord (LLL II.i.215), the Bastard (JnI.i.84), Prince Hal (1H4 I.ii.142, IV.i.95) and the Duke of York (ibid. I.iii.244). Those last two examples appear in speeches by Hotspur. In Ironside (620-3) King Canute describes his courtiers not only as 'these ruffians...these madcap lads' but also as 'these court appendixes' and 'these...hotspurs'.


MANUAL (1b of a sugnature: autograph) + seal + lips + kiss

'Set thy seal manual on my wax-red lips' (Ven 516); cf. also 'Here is my gage, the manual seal of death' (R2IV.i.25). There too the thought is linked to 'his slanderous lips' in the previous line. In each instance the meaning is not so much 'autograph' as 'authentication, validation', sealed with pressure on warm soft redness as in the application of a signet-ring to wax on a legal document; hence the connotation of a kiss as an earnest of lasting love, which also rings like a new-minted Shakespearean coinage. The thought recurs in 'But my kisses bring again/Seals of love, but sealed in vain' (MM IV.i, 6-7). Compare Ironside, where King Canute says to Egina, who has just accepted his proposal of marriage, 'then for a manual seal receive this kiss' (439); and cf. also Shr(III.ii.122-3), 'bride...seal the title with a...kiss'. .


MANURE (3 = enrich land) + blood + death on the battlefield

'The blood of English shall manure the ground' (R2 IV.i.137).

Shakespeare was well placed to know the efficacy of blood and bone fertiliser. Compare Ironside (1898), on the same subject: '...this little isle/whose soil is manuréd with carcases'.


MARIGOLD + princes/lord + spread + sun + frown/cloudy look + glory

'princes...spread...marigold...sun...frown...glory' (Son 25.5-6, 8); cf. Ironside (1092-8) 'sun...lord...marigolds...spread...glory...cloudy look'.


MASSY + accoutrements + strength + sword

Three of the four canonical instances relate to accoutrements: swords (Tmp III.iii.67), 'irons' or swords again, ironically (Tro II.iii.17); and a club, or a codpiece, humorously (Ado III.iii.137). A problem arises when (Tmp loc. cit.) 'your swords are now too massy for your strengths'. Similarly King Edmund was once not strong enough (Ironside 757-8) 'to bear/a massy helmet and a curtle-axe', i.e. a sword.



MERRIMENTS (2a = merry-making and 2b = entertainment) + marriage ceremony

'Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments' (MND I.i.12) cries Theseus, i.e. for his marriage to to Hippolyta (ibid., 1). In Ironside (579) Canute mentions 'our...merriments' i.e. for his marriage (578) to Egina.


MIGHTINESS (1b = title of dignity)

Three of the five concordance instances are titles of dignity, as in 'your mightiness' (Titus II.iii.126). The same formula is re-used ironically (Shr ind.2.76) or seriously (H5 V.ii.28). where the title 'your mightiness' is addressed to the kings of France and England. So the Countess calls the King in Edward III (957); so Edricus styles King Canute in Ironside (769).


MISTY + vapours + blot + torches + light + midday/twelve o' clock

Venus and Adonis (163) has 'Torches...light' followed at 177 by 'mid-day' and at 184 by 'misty vapours' (a phrase unique in the concordance) and 'blot'. In Ironside, 'blot' (748) begins a brief duologue that includes 'twelve o'clock' (787), and 'a torch to light...' (twice: 793-4, 795) as well as 'misty vapours' (796).


MIX with (1b = blend) + fair words + conversion

'fair persuasions mixed with sugared words' ((1H6 III.iii.18) will effect a conversion; cf. Ironside (1809-10), where Canute must 'mix [his] speech with more beseeming terms [=words]' before he can convert Edmund, Cf. also Ironside (1347), 'mixed with'. 


MOTION (= proposal of marriage) + suddenness + consultation + agreement

In Titus I.i.243 a senior figure is consulted: 'Andronicus, doth this motion please thee?'; he agrees. So also in3H6, where the prospective bridegroom's mother says 'Yes, I agree, and thank you for this motion'. So Canute consults his prospective father-in-law: 'What say you to this motion? (Ironside 433), who also agrees.


NEVER-HEARD-OF (never 7a, with pa. pples) + torturing + new

'Some never-heard-of torturing pain' (Titus II.iii.285) should be newly devised for so heinous a crime; cf. 'some new never-heard-of torturing pain' (Ironside 1276).


NICE (13a = minutely accurate) + stand + scrupulous + excuses

'wherefore stand you on nice points?...away with scrupulous wit!' (3H6 IV.vii.58,61). Cf. Ironside (400, 402) 'You are too stand upon such nice excuses'.


NIP (6b = check or destroy the growth of plants) + news + defeat in battle + drooping heads + frost + grass + down

'These tidings nip me, and I hang the head/as flowers with frost, or grass beat down with storms....' (TitusIV.iv.69-70). Cf. Ironside (742-4): 'This unwelcome news/nips like a hoary frost our springing hopes/ and makes my fearful soldiers hang their heads'. The same soldiers are later (1099) seen as 'drooping our heads as grass down-weighed with dew'. Cf. also Edward III 'when frozen cold had nipped [the grasshopper's] careless head'; no doubt that head too hung down. See also HANG and HITHERWARD.


OILY + speak + beseech

Honest Cordelia lacks 'that ...oily art /to speak and purpose not'. The word 'beseech' occurs in the previous line (Lr I.i.223-4). In Ironside (1368-9), honest King Edmund rebukes Edricus for his 'oily speech', which is rhymed with 'beseech'.


PARLEY (2a intrans. = hold a parley with an enemy) + fight + churlish + drums

'to parley or to fight' (Jn II.i.78); 'they are near at hand', as their 'churlish drums' announce. Just so in Ironside(976): 'parley...fight', announced by 'churlish drums' (956).


PATE (2 = brain) + pass

'an excellent pass of pate' (Tmp IV.i.244); Ironside (302, 304) has 'pass...pate'.


PELT + improvised weapons + presumptuous + prelate + PATE (qv).

The bitter quarrel between the Bishop of Winchester and the Duke of Gloucester (1H6 III.i.) includes several of Shakespeare's rare words and expressions also found in Ironside, such as 'prostrate' and 'spiritual'. Ironside (also III.i.) has a parallel confrontation between the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, also with rare words shared with the same 1 Henry VI scene, such as 'presumptuous' (814) and 'prelate' (819). Each quarrel culminates in improvised weapons and physical violence, expressed by the rare verb 'pelt', in the sense of repeated striking or throwing, which occurs only thrice in the canon.  In 1 Henry VI, the rival factions, forbidden to carry any weapons, have filled their pockets with pebbles and 'pelt so fast at one another's pate...' (loc.cit., 82); in Ironside, Canterbury menaces York with his crozier, which 'longs to be pelting that old hoary pate' (856).


PITCH (sb2 18 = height to which a falcon soars before swooping on its prey) + ambition for the crown + aloft/lofty + bear + mount + soar +soliloquy

1H6 II.iv.11 has the literal sense, which then becomes a metaphor for ambition; Gloucester 'loves to be aloft/ and bears his thoughts above his falcon's pitch...mount...soar' (2H6 II.i.12, 14). The villain Aaron soliloquises about his own aspiration to kingship: 'to mount aloft with thy imperial mistress and mount her pitch'; cf. also 'pitch...soars'. In Ironside, the villain Edricus, also in a soliloquy, says (480-1) that 'whose desires to mount a lofty pitch/ must bear himself against the...wind'. Cf. also Edward III (437-8) 'every ornament [=physical attribute: see LOPPED] that thou wouldst praise/fly it a pitch above the soar of praise'.


PLUMES (1b = with various references to the feathers of birds in [e.g.] display, like the peacock's plumes) + peacock + pull, take away/fall down

'Let [Talbot] like a peacock sweep along his tail;/We'll pull his plumes and take away his train' (1H6 III.iii.6-7); cf.Ironside (283) 'it will make thy peacock plumes fall down'. Cf. also Edward III (89) 'I'll take away those borrowed plumes of his'.


POPULARITY (4 = being approved, beloved or admired by the people) + base + common

This rare word (1H4 III.ii.69, H5 I.i.59) is pejorative; it denotes what kings crave or court when they associate with common people. The corresponding rare adjective 'popular' is linked with 'base' (Cor III.i.106, 108). Both noun and adjective are also immediately associated with 'common', as in 'common streets...popularity', (IH4loc.cit., 68) and 'art thou base, common and popular?' (H5 IV.i. 38). Cf. Ironside (482); Edricus, who aspires to the crown, advises himself to 'shun base common popularity'.


POSSESS (6 = to dominate, to affect or influence persistently') + bad/abject

'My ears...cannot hear good news,/So much of bad already hath possess'd them' (TGV III.i.206); cf. Ironside(284) 'if one such abject thought possess thy mind'. Cf. also Edward III (2234) 'the fear-possesséd abject soul'.


POX (3 in imprecations) + of + wrinkles etc./faces

'A pox of that jest!' (LLL V.ii.46); cf. also 'throats'. 'visage' (MM IV.iii.24, V.i.353), 'wrinkles' (Tim IV.iii.149).Ironside (473) has 'a pox of all good faces'. 'A pox upon him' has only one concordance occurence; but cf.Ironside (487) 'a pox upon him'.


I PRAY (8c, parenthetical, to add to a question) + hauteur

'For what are you, I pray, but...' (1H6 III.i.43); cf. also 'why what, I pray...' (ibid. V.v.36) etc. Pace the OED, this parenthesis imparts an unmistakeable tone of disputatious hauteur, just as in Ironside (68). Cf. Edward III(1480) 'What I pray you is his godly guard'


PRESAGE (1b = point to or indicate beforehand; give warning (by natural means)) + discord/roaring drum + ill event/mishap

'This jarring discord of nobility...doth presage some ill event' (1H6 IV.i.1910). In Ironside (1561) Canute says of his enemy that 'thy roaring drum presageth they mishap'.


PRODIGIOUS (1 = ominous) + red moon + comets

'nor mark prodigious...shall upon their children be' (MND V.i.412), i.e. they'll bear no ominous disfigurement. The corresponding adverb is first noted in 'let not their hopes prodigiously be crossed' (Jn III.i.91), also of offspring.Ironside (784) has 'see you not in the heavens prodigious signs?' i.e. portents of ill-omen, for example that 'the moon shines red' and 'the stars appear in the perturbéd heaven/like little comets', signs which elsewhere (e.g. inR2 IV.iv.9-10, where 'meteors fight the fixéd stars of heaven/the...moon looks bloody on the earth') are said to 'forerun the death or fall of kings'. In the former context, perhaps, 'it shows the fall of Ironside' (790).


PROFFERED + grace/peace + siege + threat

'if you frown upon this proffered peace' (1H6 IV.ii.9) we'll sack your city; cf. 'dare they thus refuse my proffered grace?' followed by 'assault the city!' (Ironside 908, 910) and 'since they refuse our proffered league' we'll blockade the city (Edward III 1738) preceded by 'who in scorn refused our proffered peace' (ibid. 1345).


PRY into (2a, e.g. into secrets) + secrets + treacheries

'Pry into the secrets of the state' (2H6 I.i.250); cf. Ironside (528) 'pry into our secret treacheries'; so say the two villains York and Edricus, who both inform the audience of their ambition to claim the crown.


QUARREL (4a = violent contention or altercation between persons) + kill + blood + day

'For in a quarrel...I killed...' (Shr I.i.231) is a clear illustration; so are 'in wrongful quarrel you have slain your son' or 'in a bad quarrel slain a virtuous son' (Titus I.i.293, 342) and 'this quarrel will drink blood another day' (1H6II.iv.133); cf. Ironside (1920-1) 'blood/which in our quarrels this day had been shed'. Cf. also Edward III (1864-5) 'kill...war...quarrel'.


REDOUBLE (3b = to repeat a blow etc.) + fall/light on + head

'let thy blows, doubly redoubled, fall ...on the casque/of thy... enemy' (R2 I.iii.80-2); 'on my shames redoubled' (1H4 III.ii.143-4); 'doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe' (Mac I.ii.38). In Ironside (1489) Queen Emma says that 'if anything amiss should light on' her young sons 'the same on me should be redoubled', with the same connotation of misfortune falling from above. In Edward III (2584) the Black Prince wishes that his misfortunes were 'redoubled'.


REFRESH + weary + music

The word is associated with 'weary', as in 'you weary those that refresh us' (WT IV.iv.335), and with 'music',as in 'music was ordain'd/ refresh the mind..' (Shr III.i. 11). In Ironside (2015) the prospect of peace is hailed as 'refreshing ointments to my weary limbs' as well as 'Aeolian music' (2011). In Edward III, after an armistice, the warriors are enjoined to 'refresh your weary limbs' (2594).


REGARD (10a = esteem, affection) + reasons

'The honour and regard of such a father' (TGV II,iv,60); cf. also 'regard and honour' and 'our reasons are so full of good regard' (JC IV.ii.12 and III.i.224). Ironside (421-2) has 'What reason...? The good regard...'.


REIN (3b = to put a check or restraint upon, fig.) + will(s) + horse

'rein thy tongue', (LLL V.ii.656); cf. 'rein his desire...jade...self-will' (Luc 706-7). Ironside (151-2) has 'reined with a markingstall (=martingale)...bridle...wills'.


REPETITION (3 = recital)+ marred,faults/dishonour + tire/needless

'repetition of what thou hast marred' (R3 I.iii.164) and 'faults (with surplus) to tire in repetition' (Cor I.i.46);Ironside has (82) 'what need all this repetition?' and (775,778) 'dishonour...repetition needless to recite'.


RETREAT (2a, signal to retire) + sound

'sound retreat' (1H6 II.ii.3, 2H6 IV.viii.4); cf. Ironside (977) 'sound a retreat'.


RETURN (21a = to repay or pay back in some way, esp. with something similar) + instant physical retaliation

The valiant Fluellen 'quickly will return an injury' (H5 IV.vii.181); so will the mettlesome hostage in Ironside(718-9) who says 'now thou hast spit thy venom.../we do return defiance in thy face'. Cf. Edward III (2001) 'return him my defiance in his face'. See also DEFIANCE.


RING (v2 10b = usher in or out as with the sound of bells) + drum afar off (foretelling death in battle_ + soul + warning/presageth + heavy music/hollow voice + dire departure/mishap, knell

'Drum afar off. Hark! Hark! The Dauphin's drum, a warning bell/sings heavy music to thy timorous soul/and mine shall ring thy dire departure out' (1H6 IV.ii.39-41); cf. Ironside (1559-1563) 'The drums sound afar off. Edmund...thy roaring drum presageth thy mishap/ringing thy soul's knell with a hollow voice'. Cf. Edward III(2311) 'if my tongue ring out thy end'.


ROGUES (2b, of servants) + slaves + loggerheaded + servants + fools

The 'loggerheaded and unpolish'd ... grooms' (Shr IV.i.125) are also 'foolish' (ibid. 127-8) 'rogues' (144) and 'slaves' (166), etc.; cf. Ironside (530-2) 'slaves...fools...loggerheaded rogues'. See also BLUE COATS.


SECURELY (1a free from care or apprehension) + sleep + war + reproach

'in dangerous wars, while you securely slept' ((Titus III.i.3). Ironside (309-10) offers the same reproving contrast; while Canute 'securely sleeps', Edmund 'wins with ease what we with pain have got'.


SEPULCHRE (1c trans. and fig.) + parent + child + arms/arm + winding sheet/graves + sweet boy(s) + heart/lap

'These arms of mine shall be thy winding-sheet; my heart, sweet boy, shall be thy sepulchre'; so says the father in 3H6 II.v.115; cf. Ironside (1507), where Emma, with 'Alfred in her arm' says to her sons ('sweet boys, 1430) that 'my lap' will be 'your sepulchres and your graves'. Cf. Edward III (2312) 'my arms shall be thy grave'.


SHALLOW (6c wanting in depth of mind, or character) + servants + fools

'Idle words, servants to shallow fools' (Luc 1016); cf. Ironside (525-6) 'we must favour fools/and with promotions win their [= servants'] shallow pates'.


SIR knave (6b applied with contemptuous ironic and irate force) + anger + fellow + any(thing) + deliver + supplications + Duke + poor man

'how now, fellow? Wouldst anything with me?…deliver our supplications… now, sir knave? ...poor petitioner' (2H6 I.iii.3, 8, 22-3); cf. Ironside (462, 488-9, 491, 495) 'poor man...good fellow, hast thou any suit to us? Deliver up thy supplication...duke...Sir knave'. Cf. also 'Sirrah' in the same sense: in Titus the poor clown is thrice contemptuously called 'sirrah' (IV.iii.102, 106, 115) and must 'deliver up a supplication' (ibid. 107).  


SLAUGHTERED (2 of persons; killed, slain, massacred) + bodies

'have our bodies slaughtered by thy foes' (1H6 III.i.101); cf. Ironside (1873) 'our slaughtered bodies' - the same idea with the same figure of speech.


SLEEVE pull + conspirators + passing

'as they pass by, pluck Casca by the sleeve' (JC I.ii.179), as a signal from one conspirator to another; so inIronside (220), 'Leofric pulls Turkillus by the sleeve as he is going, and stays him', and they then conspire in 'your intention'...'my secrecy'...'your device'... 'my intent'...'this very plot', i.e. 'to leave Canutus and his court/and fly to Edmund'...(260-6).


SO (5d = expression of approval) + gesture

'Give me thy hand: so.' (MWW III.i.109); cf. Ironside (1254) 'Cover! (= put your hat back on) So'.


SOOTHE UP (5b = blandish) + untruths + flatter + those in power

'Thou art perjur'd too/and sooth'st up greatness' (Jn III.i.121): cf. Ironside (164) 'list how this flattering mate soothes up the king'.


SPIRIT (13 = mettle, ardour) + father + blood + spirit + endowment

'the author of my blood, whose youthful spirit, in me regenerate...' (R2 I.iii.70); cf. Ironside (130) 'the spirit of my father...runs in these veins'. See also YOUTHFUL.


SPLEEN (6a = violent personal ill-humour) + possessive pronoun + contention for the crown + splenetic discharge + spoken words

'end thy damnéd spleen' (R3 II.iv.64) and 'you shall digest the venom of your spleen' (JC IV.iii.47); cf. Ironside(1801) 'words...from thy lips have vomited their spleen', during a fight for the crown. Cf. Edward III (1194) 'angry spleen', in the battle of Sluys.


STUMBLE + Judas + dark + a light

'A light for...Judas! it grows dark, he may stumble' (LLL V.ii.30); cf. Ironside (792-4), 'tis dark, beware ye stumble not...fetch a torch to light me...' See also ALL HAIL.


SUCCESSIVELY (5 = by succession or inheritance) + the crown passing from father to son by primogeniture

successively from blood to blood' (R3 III.vii.135) and 'the garland wear'st successively' (2H4 IV.v.201). InIronside Canute says that England is 'fallen to me not successively indeed', i.e. by conquest not inheritance.


SUNSHINE (5b = adj.) + peril in battle

'ne'er may he live to see a sunshine day/that cries Retire!' (3H6 II.i.187); cf. Ironside (1354) 'A sunshine day is quickly overcast', as King Edmund says when England is invaded by Danes.


SWARM + gnats + summer + the king's enemies

The verb is linked with plebeian crowds, as in 'The common people swarm like summer flies' (3H6, meaning a host of enemies to the king's cause. He proceeds 'and whither fly the gnats but to the sun?'. He repeats his simile for further emphasis in line 17: 'like summer flies'. The same pattern of a menaced monarch, with the same key concepts, appears in Ironside (1331-5): 'Haste, King Edmund...thy land/....oppressed by multitudes of Danes./They little gnats/ a summer's night'.


TAINTED (5 = of sheep) + sheep-farming

'I am a tainted wether of the flock' (MV IV.i.114); cf. Ironside (1296-7), 'like to a strayéd sheep/tainted...'.



THICK (9b = stupid) + pun + having a dense consistency + wit

'thy wit is as thick as Tewkesbury mustard' (2H4 II.iv.241); cf. Ironside 'misty vapours...thick...wit...thick'. The phrase 'misty vapours', reappears (uniquely in the canon) in Ven 184; cf. also 'musty [misty?] vapours...thick'Luc 782.


TIMELESS (=untimely) + fathers + widows + end of hostilities

'orphans' [tears] for their parents' timeless death' (3H6 Other phrases are 'many a widow's [sigh]', 'men [weeping] for their sons', wives for their husbands' [timeless death]'. In Ironside, King Canute uses similar words in the same context: 'many a tear [shed]/ by fathers for their sons' unhappy death/by mothers for their children's wretched ends/and widows for their husbands' timeless want' (1925-7). A similar but less specific speech, with 'untimely' instead of 'timeless', also ends Edward III; 'how many people's lives mightst thou have saved/that are untimely sunk into their graves' (2561-2), .


TRUE-BORN (= born of a pure stock; legitimately born; having the sterling qualities associated with such descent) + high rank + English + king

'a true-born gentleman [who] stands upon the honour of his birth' says one future king (1H6 II.iv.27); 'though banished, yet a true-born Englishman' says another (R2 I.iii.309). Cf. Ironside (854), which combines kingship and Englishness: King Edmund is 'a true-born prince', not a 'foreigner'.


UNAWARES (2b the phrase 'take unawares') + a surprise counter-attack to relieve a besieged town during a civil war

'take [Warwick] unawares [at Coventry] (3H6 IV.viii.63); cf. Ironside (925) '[Edmund may] suppose to take [Canute] unawares [at London]'.


UNCASE (1c = put off garments) + abruptness + arbitrariness of a master who forces an exchange of clothes with his frequently-named servant as a ruse for concealing identity; the servant shall be master.

'uncasing for the combat' (LLL V.ii.701); but see also 'Tranio, at once uncase thee' (Shr I.i.107). He is named a dozen times in this scene, and has already been told that 'Thou shalt be master, Tranio, in my stead, keep house and ...servants.' (ibid. 202-3). The same applies to Stitch in Ironside (1216ff), who is told 'you will uncase' and is then seen keeping house and servants.


UNCIVIL (3 = rude, unmannerly, of actions) but is also applied to people

'uncivil kerns of Ireland are in arms' (2H6 III.i.301), i.e. rough peasants; cf. Ironside (1805) where 'uncivil' Canute has the uncivilised manners of an alien barbarian.


UNPREPARED (2c = unprepared for death) + immediacy + extreme distress

'ere a fortnight...'tis a vile thing to die...when men are unprepared and look not for't' (R3 III.ii.60, 62-3); cf. also ' bring him to the block...a creature unprepared, unmeet for death...damnable' (MM IV.iii.65, 67, 69). Ironside(1775, 1776-8) has 'Oh that thou knewst thy dying day so grieves me at the very heart/to see him come so unprepared for death'.


UNRELENTING (1a = pitiless) + flint + fierce wild beasts

'unrelenting flint...tiger's wrath' Titus II.iii.141-2); cf. also 'unrelenting Clifford and the Queen' (3H6 II.i.58) who on the occasion then reported was famously said to have a 'tiger's heart' (ibid. I.iv.137). In Ironside (1434) Emma is persecuted by Danes with 'unrelenting eyes'; they are then compared to 'hungry lions' (1448). Cf.Edward III (1505-6) 'unrelenting...flint'.


UNTUTORED (1a = uneducated, simple, boorish of persons) + boy/lad/youth + tongue/words + prince + heir apparent + deadly enemy and rival

'boy...tongue...untutored lad [Prince Edward], thou art too malapert' (3H6 V.v.32; cf also 'some untutored youth'Son 138.3). In Ironside (18-19) Edmund's deadly enemy Canute calls him 'this young...prince' and deprecates his 'untutored words'.


VARIED (1 = of different or various sorts or kinds) + words + melodious + sweetness + enchanting

'[tongue] melodious...sweet varied notes, enchanting every ear' (Titus III.i.86); cf. also 'epithites are sweetly varied' (LLL IV.ii.9). Ironside has 'varied terms [=words] enchanting' together with 'melodious' (1175), 'sugared' (1185), all in the same speech; see also ENCHANT.


VIPER (3a = allusion to the supposition that the female viper was killed by her young eating their way out at birth) + civil war + traitor

'Civil dissension is a viperous worm that gnaws the bowels of the commonwealth' (1H6 III.i.72); cf. also 'I am no viper, yet I feed/ on mother's flesh which did me breed' (Per I.i.64) and 'viperous traitor' (Cor III.i.285). InIronside (157) the renegade Edricus is called 'mother-killing Viper, traitor...'. Cf. also Edward III (109-10) 'viper, traitor to the place [i.e. France] where thou wast fostered in thine infancy'.


WATCHFUL + weary + night(s)

'watchful weary tedious nights' (TGV I.i.39); cf. also 'watchful night' (2H4 IV.v.25); Ironside (414) has 'weary watchful night'.


WHETSTONE + fool/block + dull/blunt + wit(s)

'wit...wits...dull...fool...whetstone' (AYLI I.ii.53-5); cf. Ironside (1159, 1161) 'wits...whetstone...block...blunter'.


YOUTHFUL (fig. 3 = having the vigour of youth) + blood + vigour + lusty + single combat between enemies, broken off unexpectedly, as a theatrical device

'youthful April' (Titus III.i.18); cf. also 'youthful as your blood' (Jn III.iv.125), 'warm youthful blood', which makes one 'swift in motion as a ball' (Rom II.v.12-3), 'lusty, young...blood whose youthful spirit...vigour' (R2I.iii.66, 70). Ironside (1798-9) has 'lusty youthful blood...springs' in exactly the same context as R2.